EC to hold oral hearings on conference antitrust regulation
The European Community’s competition directorate will hold public oral hearings in Brussels on Dec. 4 to hear the industry’s views on its review of EC Regulation 4056/86, the law that grants antitrust immunity to liner conferences in Europe.
The competition directorate, currently preparing the hearings, said that the agenda of the meetings will focus on two or three themes, but these have not been finalized, yet.
The EC is also waiting for a written report on the conference immunity that is being prepared by a team of consultants from the Erasmus university of Rotterdam.
The review of the conference regulation was initiated in March by the EC, which wants to ascertain whether the immunity granted by the 16-year-old regulation still produces the benefits expected, and continues to be justified.
During the summer, the EC received written comments on the review from all sides of the industry. An EC competition official said that the comments submitted by the European Liner Affairs Association, which represents ocean carriers in Brussels, produced factual evidence on the immunity question. The European Shippers’ Council also produced some evidence, although partly anecdotal, according to the competition official.
Commenting on the industry submissions, the official said: “The factual evidence is very thin on the ground.”